Saturday, March 31, 2012

Novel Soundtracks

Music is an absolutely vital component of my life. It resonates in my heart and soul, inspires me, bolsters my resolve, and adds depth to every event in my life. Maybe I was a musician in a previous life, but in this one, the only thing I can play is my iPod. That doesn't quell my great appreciation for those who compose, play, sing, or otherwise create that magical combination of melody and lyric.

Then it should be no surprise to anyone that I often create a soundtrack for my novels before and during the writing process. (Yes, I know; I'm a bit... let's say, eccentric.) Certain songs bring my characters into clearer focus; others lend themselves to action scenes. I listen to almost every genre of music--except country or rap--so somewhere a song expresses the heart of one of the characters or the flavor of a setting or the thrilling beat of action.

For Out of Forgotten Ashes (Book Two of my Dragon & Hawk series, set for release on Monday, April 2) the soundtrack ranges from The Moody Blues (Never Comes the Day) and the Gypsy Kings (Love & Liberté), to the Irish band Solas (When My Love and I Parted) and Andrea Bochelli (Sogno), to Debussy (Clair De Lune) and Chicago (Wishing You Were Here). Eclectic, yes, but each invokes a mood for a scene or situation in the story. I don't know if anyone else does this, but it definitely helps me really get into the characters and their reactions.

So maybe the next time you're stuck, thinking the scene you're working on just isn't working or your character isn't gelling, take a break and crank up some tunes. Think about it and choose songs that may relate to your storyline. Then press "Play," close your eyes, and see if the music conjures more definite imagery in your mind's eye that you can translate to the page.


Jude Johnson

Out of Forgotten Ashes, Book Two of the Dragon & Hawk series, will be available from Champagne Books on Monday, April 2, 2012:
Evan Jones thinks his troubles are over in 1886.  He’s married his love, the Mexican healer Reyna, and started horse ranching outside of Tombstone in the Arizona Territory. But tragedy strikes when least expected to nearly tear their union apart.  Evan and Reyna soon face more than one phoenix rising from forgotten ashes of his past that threaten dire—and possibly deadly—consequences.


  Dragon & Hawk is now available in both ebook and print from Champagne Books.


Big Mike said...

Interesting how many authors crank up the tunes to write. I need the mellow sounds of new age floating in the background or I cannot find harmony with my muse.

Oh, BTW - Thats one great looking cover on your new novel.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year, (2008 and 2009)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

The music resides within. I write in silence, but "the band plays on."

Jude Johnson said...

Thanks Mike and Julie!

Ute Carbone said...

I'm going to have to track down your tunes, Jude.
I create a sound track for all my projects. I like to listen while I walk or drive or mull about.

Anonymous said...

I have a little IPod and speakers on my computer desk. I have to sit at my big computer to write. Talk about ecentric. I listen to Mozart. No Mozart, no historical. Big band, 50's and 60's with contemporaries.

I guess a lot of authors do the same.

Linda Rettstatt said...

I don't usually play music while I write, but I almost always have a couple of songs that fit the theme of the book I'm writing. I use those to keep me on track and get me unstuck. As a former musician, you'd think music would be a more integral part of my creative process, but it seems words have now replaced the music as my creative focus. Still, music plays a part.

January Bain said...

Fascinating stuff! I need absolute quiet when I write. Yet my husband loves to listen to music no matter what he is doing.

Exciting that your new book is being released on Monday, Jude!!! My first is coming out in July.

Jude Johnson said...

Ute, you are the first writer I've learned of who does a soundtrack for projects too.

Anon, Mozart is one of my faves but so far he hasn't made it to my soundtrack list. He would inspire me with a European historical, I'm thinking...

Thanks, January. I find total silence distracting. Probably why I don't seem to like meditation! lol


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Interesting, Jude. I don't like to meditate either. I find I'm doing a marketing list.

Ashley Barnard said...

I LOVE author soundtracks! Film scores are my favorite! : )

Ashley Barnard said...

I mean novel soundtracks. : )